“A Place at the Table”: A Frustrating Look at Hunger in America

Imagine trying to support yourself and your family on a paycheck of 120 dollars every two weeks. Imagine sitting in a classroom trying to listen to a lecture, but you are so hungry that the teacher is turning into a banana right before your very eyes. Imagine begging your children to fall asleep at night despite the fact that their stomachs are growling and they are wondering what it is they did wrong to deserve this terrible feeling.

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These scenarios were brought to life in Magnolia Picture’s A Place at the Table, which was released in select theaters around the country and made available everywhere On Demand March 1. The documentary chronicles the struggle many Americans face to put food on the table and the hunger epidemic’s negative impact on the nation since the turn of the 21st century.

One of the reviews on the film’s website quotes the Huffington Post saying this was, “a film that should make you furious”. And it did make me furious. When the movie ended and the credits began to roll, I could not help but feel a sense of frustration. Sitting in my suburban single home with a kitchen stocked with a variety of foods to satisfy my appetite at any time of the day or night, this movie opened my eyes to a life that so many people in this country are forced to live each and every day. And to make matters worse, despite the fact that there are efforts being made to stem the tide of this growing problem, the government seems to be doing very little to help. Not to mention that this problem was virtually eradicated back in the 1970s, yet when faced with the same issue in today’s society, we just can’t seem to get this monkey off our backs.

Fortunately, films like these are gaining a lot of attention in the media, and will hopefully raise the awareness that is needed to put an end to this problem for good. The movie features academics, intellectuals, and authors who put this idea in perspective for the audience. Even actor Jeff Bridges has a big role to play in the film. Aside from his famed career in Hollywood, Bridges founded the End Hunger Network and has the ambitious goal to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

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One other point that made me frustrated when watching the film was that when it ended, I felt as if there was this huge problem right here on our home soil, and yet, there was nothing I could do to help. To me personally, the film left me with no practical way for me to take action.

While it is true that by merely raising awareness for the issue of hunger in America, we are taking small yet necessary step towards a brighter future; however, once everyone knows about the problem, there needs to be a feasible and achievable means to this end.

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Health and Nutrition: A Trending Topic

Much like the rapidly increasing size of our nation’s citizens, the awareness of the declining state of our nation’s health and diet is increasing as well. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems that are in part caused by the food problem in the United States is costing us a great deal. This issue of not only hitting people hard, but also their wallets. This has sparked a nationwide movement, encouraging people to step away from the fast food counter and into places that sell healthier, fresher, better quality food.

With the rising popularity of Internet blogging, there are countless health and nutrition posts are raising awareness about this issue. Available to anyone with access to the Internet, new blogs are popping up daily, offering people advice as well as hope that they may be able to offset these pending health problems for themselves and their children.

Take a look at Mayo Clinic’s nutrition blog, which offers suggestions for improving your diet and overall lifestyle.

You do not have to be a doctor or have professional expertise on nutrition to blog about it (exhibit A). Many people will post in blogs chronicling their own experience in their quest to achieve a healthier diet. Step Away From the Cake is a more personal account of one blogger’s day by day diet and fitness journal, which include both high and low points alike. A lot of blogs like this exist today; they can attract many readers who can read these posts and think, “Hey, if this person can do it, so can I!”

There are also blogs that detail trends in the world of health and nutrition. This article from the Huffington Post discusses a study that shows older Americans are in worse overall health than the generation that precedes them.

Blogs like these can not only help people begin taking the necessary steps to live a healthy lifestyle, but they can also educate readers about just how to do so and how important it is.

There has been a gradual paradigm shift over the past decade or so in the way Americans are viewing food; people are becoming more aware of just what they are putting into their bodies, and how much of it is not good for them. The pressure is on for parents, teachers, and lawmakers to begin reevaluating their eating habits and creating an environment where their children can learn at an early age the incredible importance of eating healthy and nutritious foods.